Antonio Carluccio: ‘Godfather of Italian cooking’ dies

Antonio Carluccio

Celebrity chef and restaurateur Antonio Carluccio has died at the age of 80, his agent says.

He was known for the Italian restaurant chain that carries his surname and for appearing on TV programmes, including the BBC Two hit Two Greedy Italians, alongside chef Gennaro Contaldo.

He wrote more than a dozen best-selling books and in 2012 launched his memoirs.

The restaurant chain has called him the “Godfather of Italian cooking” and said he will be “greatly missed”.

“Antonio was a much loved and respected Italian cookery writer, cook, restaurateur, food expert and TV personality,” a statement from the Carluccio’s restaurant chain said.

“It isn’t just Antonio’s name above our doors, but his heart and soul lives and breathes throughout our restaurants.”

picture of from Two Greedy Italians programme
Carluccio alongside chef Gennaro Contaldo, in Two Greedy Italians

Carluccio co-founded the high street restaurant chain Carluccio’s in 1999.

Friend and colleague, Russell Grant, said he was “just the kindest and loveliest man to be with.”

“He was so passionate about his cookery and where he came from,” he told the BBC.

“Every mouthful would bring another story.”

The former Great British Bake Off winner, Candice Brown, said Carluccio was “a true gent and honest man”.

Queen Elizabeth II speaking with celebrity chef and restaurateur Antonio Carluccio
From north-west Italy, Carluccio worked as a journalist in Turin before moving to Vienna and Germany, and finally London.

In 2007, he received an OBE from the Queen for his services to the catering industry and in 2012, he was awarded the AA hospitality lifetime achievement award.

He received the Commendatore, the equivalent of a British knighthood, from the Italian government in 1998 for services to Italy.